Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Beginning of Hell

August 2010

I was driving to a friends house when all of a sudden my heart started racing, I was sweating, I couldn't catch a full breath no matter how hard I tried and I thought death was moments away. I had to swerve over four lanes of traffic to get to the side of the road. pulling over made me feel a little safer, but i swore i was about to die. I contemplated calling an ambulance and learned that calling the ambulance for yourself is harder than it sounds. I'm not sure if it was shame or pure embarrassment, but apparently I was willing to risk my life instead of asking for help.

Cars were zooming past me as I decided that praying would probably be a good idea. I grabbed my water bottle and guzzled the entire thing- I was more than thankful that I had it available. I put my hand to my heart and swore that my chest was going to explode. I again sat and questioned how long it would take the ambulance to get to me and if they'd make it before i died. The thought of death crossed my mind more than a dozen times.

My heart rate slowed from a billion beats a minute to about five hundred thousand beats a minute and I briefly contemplated calling my friend to pick me up. I thought about how she didn't have a car and wondered how she would get to me. My only choice would be to drive to her. I sat for another 20 minutes or so feeling exhausted - I imagine the feeling was similar to what those with epilepsy experience after having a seizure.

I had about 30 miles left to drive to my friends. My house was about 80 miles away, so obviously the logical choice was to continue driving to her house. The entire time my breathing was shallow and the road no longer felt safe. I stayed in the right hand lane fearing that i would need to pull off to safety.

To this day, more than two years later, I still wonder how I made it to her house safely. I had never experienced a panic attack before, but I would never forget this one.

My understanding and compassion for those that suffer from anxiety and panic attacks is the only positive thing that came from that experience. If I would have known that was only the beginning of the hell that I was about to inure, I don't think I would have made it through that experience.

And the nightmare began.........

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